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Who are you to preach to a mother how she should breastfeed her child? Public or private, it’s entirely her choice – so let’s stop preaching.
It’s been over a week since my social media timeline was flooded with ‘opinions’ on how a mother should breastfeed. Ironical, yet interesting. Well, this piece of conversation was fuelled by the cover page of a regional magazine that exhibited a women feeding her newborn, baring her breasts. Now, I will not go on with my utter doubt if that was at all a stance on women’s empowerment or just a mere voyeuristic marketing gimmick to scale up the sales of the magazine. Breasts sell, let’s not forget that!
Perhaps, what I was more railed up with were the numerous opinions that floated across stating why this is acceptable or why it is not at all. Men, women, learned and frivolous, everyone had an opinion about the same. It didn’t matter really whether one understood the repercussions of what they said and what any statement may lead to. Surprisingly, what also didn’t matter was, what ultimately the lady, the mother who is breastfeeding wants and how she would like to go about it. Again, the whole saga boils down to one mere fact, “Are women entitled to have their own choices or not?”
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Who are you to preach to a mother how she should breastfeed her child? The articles that I have been reading are all about why and how a lady should feed her child. Whether she should be hiding her boobs under a veil and feed or she should bare it out in the open. While some feel that baring the breast out is kind of an empowerment (which I find a tad silly), there are a few who feel that a woman should not do that and hide herself under a burqa, perhaps. Ask me, I would say both are cringeworthy. Both these notions are telling stories of how botched up the mindset of people are. And if you ask me why I am possibly so against these kind of ’empowering’ gimmicks, let me tell you that.
Of all the countless articles that I have been reading, no one ever says, “Let the woman do whatever she wants to.” Let her have her own choice. Let her decide for her own self what she wants and how she wants it. Instead, the whole brigade was busy preaching, what is right and what is wrong. My problem with this whole saga lies just there. I said it earlier too and reiterate again, a woman has all the right to make her own choices. What she does with her body and her mind, is entirely her prerogative. You have absolutely no right to decide on her behalf and preach this dogma in the name of empowerment. Trust me, the whole ethos of empowerment falls flat and waddles in a puddle the moment you start telling her – “Look, you need to do this.”
Ask me… and I would be the first person to say that I am least comfortable in feeding my child baring my breasts in public. I would anytime look for a private space. Well, does that makes me a less empowered woman in any way? Is baring yourself a sign of empowerment? I understand that women are being shamed for breastfeeding in public. To them – go to hell! But, my wrath will be equally vehement against those who advocate for breastfeeding publicly and women empowerment in the same loop. I take this in the spirit of sheer indignation. Because at any point of time, what matters most is that a woman has the right to choose for her own self. If you are preaching, stop right there. That’s it.
Breastfeeding and the surrounding bedlam is just a small dent on the big picture. If you closely look at it and think about it, it is again one of those loose ended patriarchal practices where a few supposedly enlightened souls are trying to control what a woman should do. Well, this has to change. The change begins here. The empowerment begins here. The fight for choice begins here. A woman has the right to make her choices, and I guess the buck just stops here. Right here.
Top image via Unsplash
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How I should feed my child is definitely my choice. with that comes the responsibility to keeping child safe from getting choked. My FATHER gave me some rules,
1.Never feed your child in the bed where you are putting it sleep.
2.No hooks on your clothing as long as you are nursing.
3. keep the child upright at least for 10mnts.
Know something he was not controlling me, I know the space he is talking from. He has had a patient whose milk spill on the bed resulted in ants crawling on the bed and the child’s eyelid being bitten by ants. He has had a patient whose child’s eyelid got ripped because the hook got stuck there. His colleague has seen a young mother loose her child to aspiration.
There is no sexism involved here, there is just a father looking out for his daughter. So in my space I would tell anyone, see who is giving the advice and how relevant it is.
I get that. And agree too. It does matter where the preach is coming from. However, you would agree that breastfeeding has nothing to do with women empowerment in any which way. If you read carefully, the article is more about the preaching on breasts more and not the feeding. These kind of unsolicited comments need to stop…
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